Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday decorating for squirrels and/or adults with short attention spans

When we get to the last couple of weeks before the semester break, to say I have the attention span of a squirrel is an insult to squirrels everywhere. So, when the other cubicle ninja ladies started to decorate the room for Christmas, I was happy to participate.

I didn't think to bring any decorations to work decided to go green in my decorations this year so I used out-dated forms and handouts from the office to make my own decor.

The Rock loves crafty women. 

The end result of massive paper chain and jumbo 3D snowflake was festive, if not absolutely fabulous.

If you know of any other relatively easy (like something a 6-year-old or an adult with the attention span of a squirrel could do) holiday decorating ideas, let me know because I still have six days and one hour and 35 minutes to work before the break, but who's counting?

I hope your Christmas and New Year are awesome! And if you celebrate holidays other than Christmas and New Year, I hope those are awesome, too.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Football pick results, Thanksgiving lunch and crow pie

As you probably know (because I told anyone who would listen), I got to be the guest picker on the ESPN Big 12 blog last week. I actually did pretty well. I picked 3 of 4 correctly, tying the pro. And technically, my pick of Texas Tech over Texas was a pick from my heart, not my head, so I could have gone 4 for 4.

You can read the whole thing on the ESPN Big 12 blog

Speaking of the TTU/Texas game, it creates a nice family rivalry with some of my Dad's side of the family. I'm a Tech fan, and so are my cousins Rhonda and Derek. The other cousins and my Uncle H are Texas fans. I can understand why Uncle H supports the Longhorns, considering he went to Texas and is in their Athletic Hall of Fame and all, but I can't think of any good reason that the cousins support the Longhorns other than maybe they were dropped on their heads as toddlers or something. 

Anyway, we had Thanksgiving lunch at Uncle H's and Aunt N's house this year. Derek and I showed up in our red and black TTU gear. We were distinctly in the minority to say the least. There was a little trash talk (mostly me, naturally) and then it was time to eat. I got my plate loaded and found a seat. And then Uncle H brought over a "centerpiece" for the table. But it didn't go in the center. It went right in front of ME. And it wasn't really a centerpiece. It was his UT Athletics Hall of Fame trophy. The Eyes of Texas were upon me, all Thanksgiving day. The Eyes of Texas were upon me; I could not get away. 

What are you looking at, Bevo?

As any football fan knows by now, Texas Tech did NOT triumph over the Longhorns. I had to eat a little crow pie. But I'm a big girl; I don't dish it if I can't take it. And crow pie is still pie.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Notes to Mother Nature

I'm all about whimsy. I love the whimsy. Bet you didn't know that I write a letter to Santa every year. (It's as good for the soul as chicken soup.) And I write the occasional note to Mother Nature as well. I cc'd them to the blog this time.

Friday evening, November 22

Dear Mother Nature, 
Great job on the cold front. I'm sure most of West Texas is complaining but I love the cold. Doesn't hurt that I got off work early, too. I'm home safe and sound now, so do your thing this weekend, sister.

Your friend, 

Saturday, November 23

Dear Mother Nature,
You are working overtime, huh? Keep up the good work, I've got my fleece blanket handy. 

Your friend, 

Sunday, November 24

Dear Mother Nature,
Please do whatever you need to do to get me a snow day tomorrow. A heavy layer of frost might do the trick. 

Your friend, 

Monday, November 25

Dear Mother F,
You aren't funny. You know full well that I was not referring to finding a new bunch of gray hairs this morning when I talked about a "heavy layer of frost."

Watch your back.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Guest picking on Football, not noses.

I may have mentioned that I am a big college football fan. Maybe once or twice. So, it's no surprise that I read the ESPN Big 12 Blog. For those of you who don't know what an ESPN Big 12 Blog is, I'm sad for you. But to explain, on a trio of writers do stories about the Big 12 conference everyday during football season. I read it faithfully. Some women Pinterest, I ESPN. What can I say? (And yes, I just used ESPN as a verb. Deal with it.)

Anyway, every week one of the guys (Jake Trotter) does his predictions for that week's games and invites a guest picker to make their picks. It's a bragging-rights contest to see who can predict the game outcomes better: the pro or the guest.

After various years of being passed over and not being picked to be the picker, I got picked. (No pecks of pickled peppers involved. Or noses. There will be no nose picking.) Or if you prefer a literary reference over my kick-ass alliteration,  I, like Harry Potter, am the Chosen One. I GET TO BE THE GUEST PICKER FOR WEEK 14'S GAMES! You know what that means? It means that A) I am so freaking stoked I can barely stop giggling, B) I have a valid excuse for watching all the football I plan to watch this weekend during Week 13, and C) I have the potential to seriously humiliate myself in front of a national online audience. Wow, when I put it like that, it's pretty much just an average Shelley weekend. NBD.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sticky songs

My mental jukebox tends to get stuck on repeat. Almost every day I get a song in my head that clings there like gum on a shoe. I started keeping track of the songs. I should probably have some kind of mental health professional interpret the list for me. But then, I'm not really sure I want to know. 

In case you're wondering, these are the "sticky songs" that I thought to write down over the last few weeks, starting with today and going backward. 

  • Andrews High School Fight Song - including lyrics that most people don't know exist
  • Royals by Lorde ("you can call me green bean")
  • Hawaii 5-0 theme song (as played by the Permian High School band. This is a regular. It comes up 2 or 3 times a month in the mental jukebox shuffle.)
  • Feelin' 22 by Taylor Swift (don't even like this song, but we have a great football player here at Tech. His # gets called alot by announcers during the games.)
  • Roxanne (the Eddie Murphy version)
  • Waka Waka by Shakira from the 2010 World Cup (the Spanish version)

With the exception of Jessie's Girl, these are even in the top 100 of my all-time favorite songs, so why do they stay with me? Again, I'm not sure I want to know. 

So, what are your sticky songs?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I hate mixed're not funny, CVS

I'm a loyal CVS shopper. (And by "loyal" I mean that I shop there because CVS is literally across the street from my apartment.) Any loyal CVS customer knows that if you use their Extra Care card, they give you coupons. Normally, the coupons are borderline insulting: buy-one-get-one-free deodorant, or $5 off non-prescription reading classes, 10% off joint pain relief, etc... Today, they were not only insulting, but sending me mixed messages. I might have to petition for a Walgreens to be built in my neighborhood.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

When you've got a dirty mind, there's never a dull conversation

Earlier this week, I thought that I might be The Terminator, but I’ve figured out that I’m really just a 12-year-old boy.  Or, more specifically, that I’m about as mature as a 12-year-old boy.  See, I’m THAT friend, the kind that everyone has, the one that can hear something completely innocuous and turn it into something NQSFW (not quite safe for work) or NIWMMTH (nothing I want my mother to hear). But I can’t help it. I do it reflexively. I do it gleefully. I do it with gusto. (Even now I’m snickering because “I do it.”) And last week, all the girls in the office joined in with me. (Joined me in being immature, not in “doing it”. See, it’s contagious.) It was a group exercise in enjoying awkward moments.

It all started innocently enough. Jessica wore some new boots to work one day and I complimented her on them. One of the other girls told Jessica to watch out or I might attack her and steal those boots right off her feet. (At this point, despite talk of theft and assault, it was still just a normal conversation for the office.) I pointed out it wouldn’t be worth it for me to steal Jessica’s boots because my calves are too big, so they probably wouldn’t fit. And that’s when Jessica announced, “They might. I had to get the extra-wide shaft.”

“EXTRA-WIDE SHAFT” you say? That’s the best opportunity for a double-entendre zinger I’ve had in a long time, but before I could get it out, the other girls started talking about other innocent things that sound super vulgar. I’m pretty sure I nearly had an aneurysm from holding back all the super-inappropriate things and immature giggling that conversation was creating for me.  

After Jessica’s “extra-wide shaft” and a couple examples from the others, I shared the awkward lecture that my orthodontist shared with me on the first visit to his office. “I’m going to give you a mouthpiece to wear to bed each night. We have to train your tongue to behave properly when you swallow.”  The grown-up part of my brain registered the medical purpose of that statement. The preteen boy part of my brain was practically doing cartwheels. In a moment of self-control I never would have thought I have, I just nodded my head. That’s right, the girl who makes Craigslist pervs uncomfortable stayed silent.

As uncomfortably awesome as my orthodontist story was though, I didn’t have the winning phrase that day. It turns out that Olivia, who is taking Chemistry this semester, has a piece of equipment they use in the lab that is called a “stop cock” and for the stop cock to work properly, it has to be lubricated. It’s a damn good thing I didn’t need Chemistry for my degree; I wouldn't have lasted a minute.

At least for me.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I might possibly be the Terminator

I had an epiphany this morning on the way to work. As I was playing life-size Frogger trying not to run over idiot students who walk out into the street without looking, I realized (for the eleventy billionth time) that I am NOT a morning person. But I'm not really a late-night person either. 

Also not:

a coffee person 
an outdoorsy person  
a kid person

In fact, I might not be a person at all. Wrap your head around that. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Extreme Service: College Hills Halloween Carnival Edition...aka...Scaring the crap out of little kids in the name of "service"

Last time in Extreme Service, I talked about my days doing Meals on Wheels. This time, I'm going to attempt to explain why there is probably a whole generation of kids in College Station, Texas that wet the bed long into (or past) their elementary school years, thanks to Halloween terror caused by my APO friends and me. 


Flashback to 1993: College Hills Elementary contacted APO for help with their annual Halloween carnival and I got the chance to be project chair. In the meeting with a teacher at the school, they asked that we #1) make a bunch of confetti eggs for their fundraiser (kids buy confetti eggs to bust over their friends’ heads and they think it's fun???) and #2) help with the hay ride and #3) create and man their spook house. Fun stuff, right? 

Tim and Stacy volunteered to take care of the hay ride, so I never really had to think twice about it because I knew they had it under control. And what kid wouldn't want to ride a hay ride with the Hulk and his cute little bunny pet?

My work started with the confetti eggs. The first calls were to the local copy shops that printed study booklets, bound Masters Theses and whatnot. “Hello, this is Shelley with Alpha Phi Omega. Can you save all of your hole punches for me?” Apparently that wasn’t a common request, because I had to explain over and over how I needed the hole punches to use them as confetti for confetti eggs. Some of them said they didn’t think they could GIVE them to me. My “well then, how much do you sell them for,” would always get the answer “We DON'T sell them. We throw them away.” I love my Aggies, I truly do, but sometimes the reason that Aggie jokes hit a little close to home is because there are Aggies like those copy shop clerks. Eventually they agreed to save the hole punches for me when I suggested “if you can’t GIVE them to me and you won’t SELL them to me, I guess I’ll just dumpster dive for them in the evenings.” 

After the confetti was secured, I had to collect some eggs. I called EVERY grocery store in Bryan and College Station asking for egg donations, then drove to each store to pick them up. I even got it approved to offer a service hour to each active or pledge who donated two dozen eggs. When it was all said and done, we had collected 144 dozen eggs. For you who like math, that’s 144x12, or 12x12x12, or 1728, or a real shitload of eggs.

Once the eggs and confetti were collected, we had an egg draining “party” at Jeen-Marie’s and Nikki’s apartment where a handful of us sat in the living room, punched holes in the bottom of the eggs and drained the guts into big trash bags. In hind sight, we should have planned this in conjunction with a massive breakfast for the homeless, because we wasted 1728 perfectly good eggs. To this day I feel guilty about the waste…and the fact that their apartment’s dumpster no doubt smelled pretty disgusting by the next day. 

So, the drained eggs dried, we stuffed the confetti in them and taped the bottoms up and I delivered 144 dozen confetti eggs to College Hills Elementary. (And I vehemently vowed to NEVER be involved in confetti eggs EVER AGAIN.) While I was there to drop off the eggs, they gave me the tour of the building that would be used for the spook house, and that’s where the previously-mentioned bed wetting begins. 

The spook house would be in a small building with hallways that made a “T” shape. There would be an entryway, and then the “big kids” could go right down the longer part of the building. The “little kids” could go straight through a shorter, less-scary hallway. (See below.) 

The problem with their explanation of how the spook house should be set up was that by “big kids,” they meant fourth and fifth graders, but didn't spell that out to me. To a bunch of college kids, "big" kids are teenagers, not fourth graders. We MIGHT have definitely made the spook house a little waaaaayyyyyy too scary. 

On the day of the carnival, we got to spend the early part of the day putting the spook house together to have it ready for that evening, and it was one of the most fun days I ever had working on a project. We had music blaring, James was on “dry ice patrol” to make sure we had plenty of smoke and fog, there was lots of laughter and gallons of fake blood. (Entirely too much fake blood for an elementary school spook house.)

Major job function of "dry ice patrol" was entertaining the rest of us

And then the carnival started and we had our first visitors. 

We greeted them with a mad scientist.

Dr. Wendell is SO happy to have you in the lab.

Then creepy things came out to get you at the junction of the little kids’ hallway and big kids’ hallway. 

Going straight through the little kids’ hallway would take you through a cemetery, but I didn’t get a picture of it because zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz................

Going through the big kids’ hallway would scare the crap out of you.

First, there was the “Quack Shack” which is the quaint name we had for the old student health center at A&M. (I went there when I fell off Kyle Field and broke my foot.) It wasn’t THAT bad…the student health center, I mean.

Our Quack Shack really was THAT bad.

Then there was the part that was like a really bad LSD trip with fluorescent lighting.

Then there was the Undertaker with his pet. He had dinner all ready to serve.

Eventually the Undertaker (Thom) married his pet (Jen).

Dinner is served. It might talk back though.

If you’d made it that far with your eyes open, you’d be greeted by “Hanging Amy” who would make a point to sway a little bit and bump into the taller spook house guests as they walked by. 

And finally, Dracula would open his eyes and sit up in time to tell you goodbye, or to suck your blood, or something.

It just LOOKS like a bucket of beer in the coffin with him, but I'm mostly sure it was the dry ice. 

Needless to say, we scared those kiddos pretty badly. Many times during the evening, I went through (and the College Hills staff went through) to remind everyone to “tone it down.” During one of my passes, I went through behind a dad and his three little Ninja Turtles. Unfortunately, I was dressed as a clown with big spots on my costume, and they noticed me behind them right when we were in the fluorescent drug trip room. I hadn’t considered how creepy a clown can look in that kind of lighting. I probably resembled something from their nightmares. 

Scary clown me. 

(In case you’re wondering, Coulrophobia is the excessive fear of clowns. I’m pretty sure little Donatello Ninja Turtle probably has Coulrophobia to this day.) The kids were terrified and the dad was even a little freaked out, too, but he hid it well. It wasn’t until nearly the end that his poker face failed him. Hanging Amy brushed against his shoulder as she swayed in the breeze and that was the final straw that made him visibly shiver. I remember that shiver vividly all these years later. 

So yeah, there were probably many nightmares and a lot of bed wetting for awhile in the College Hills Elementary school population. My friend John tries to make me feel guilty about it all over again every year around Halloween, and I do...for a minute or two. I console myself by remembering those kids all had a metaphorical badge of courage and a great story to tell at school the next day and are all pushing 30 now and hopefully remembering it fondly. The biggest pang of guilt I feel is over the fact that future generations of APO brothers didn’t get to have the same kind fun we had because we never got invited to do the College Hills Spook House again. EVER.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I should probably stop naming the creepy crawlies.

For a few days after the apartment complex sends the pest control guy around, the bug population is a little stirred up. They pop up everywhere. Just in time for Halloween. Yay.

On a related note, I have a new roommate.

Zoomed in as much as possible from as far away as possible. So much for my future career in nature photography.

Since my new roommate has eight legs, and because he is at least spider number five to pop up in the last couple of days, and because it's football season and because he's really annoying, I have decided to name him Chad OchoCinco. 


Roommate update: Prior to publication of this post, Chad OchoCinco (the spider) met an untimely, though very satisfying death via leather footwear. Because really, who hasn't wanted to smack Chad OchoCinco (the athlete) with a shoe?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hitting the bottle early

It's a rough Tuesday morning in Shelleyland, folks. The Rock and I are hitting the bottle early.

Y'all have a great Tuesday. I plan on doing the same. As soon as I wake up.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

There should at least be cartoons.

It's a well-known fact that I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. At all. Not even a little bit. My perfect Saturday is one where I can sleep in until at least noon.

Today, it's a chilly morning. The kind of morning that makes staying in bed that much better. And I don't have to work. I don't have plans with friends or family. I have a football game to watch at 11am, but that's it. Last night I set my alarm for 10:35am (three 5-minute snoozes would still have me awake 10 minutes before kickoff). And this morning I slept in until....8:30am???

I woke up starving. I was so hungry there was no going back to sleep. I actually put on clothes and went to the donut shop for sugary doughy goodness. I came home to eat my donuts and watch Saturday morning cartoons.

I was kind of excited to get to watch cartoons. I didn't watch them much as a kid because I always slept through. So got the remote and started flipping through and....Where the hell are the cartoons? I only found two channels with animation and they were LAME.

This sucks. I didn't get to sleep in. I didn't have enough milk to drink with my donuts. And today's cartoons are boring.

And now to add insult to injury, my alarm is mocking me...I mean, my alarm is going off. I need a nap. And some Bugs Bunny.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Birthday, Billy!

Today's my friend Billy's birthday. He's kind of a local celebrity. And yet, he's never been the feature of a blogpost by any blogger. I rectify that omission NOW.

Billy is a great public speaker. His deep baritone sounds like the voice of God over a microphone. Or maybe it's the Godfather of Soul. I forget.

He is also the master of the slow clap.

He's pretty much the bomb dot com. (That just seems so wrong to type or say. But, I got that from one of my former students, so surely that's what the cool kids are saying these days.)


Sunday, October 13, 2013

I love ya, but The Walking Dead comes back tonight....

That's right. The Walking Dead comes back for season four tonight. I won't be answering phone calls. Or texts. Or the front door. 

I WILL be obsessing over every little detail.  I will be live-chatting it with my Facebook group. I will probably be tweeting a lot of "OMG" and "Ewwww." 

And I will also be waiting for Daryl and Carol to confess their love for each other. And I will be watching how Rick and Michonne handle becoming allies. And I will be hoping that everyone in the group gets at least one shower this season. 

I will also be watching to see if any of my predictions come true. I think that within the first two episodes we'll have a major bloodbath that gets rid of most of the people they picked up in Woodbury last season because that's just too many people for us to keep up with and care about. I also predict that we may not see the Governor in person during the first couple of episodes, but we will see his handiwork. And I predict Daryl will be a badass in a sleeveless shirt. (Okay, that last one is more of a wish than a prediction.)

So yeah, you probably shouldn't call unless you have a true emergency. I love ya, but The Walking Dead comes on tonight. 

What are your predictions/wishes for the season four premiere?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Port-a-potties, family and the goat cook off

I have never, ever in my entire life spent as much time talking about port-a-potties as I did last weekend. I didn’t think there could be that much to say on the subject, but as often happens; I learned how wrong I could be.
You see, last weekend was the twenty-somethingth annual Colorado City Volunteer Fire Department World Championship Boer Goat Cook Off. (If you’re wondering what exactly a boer goat cook off is, well…’s a lot like a chili cook off, just with more rednecks and fewer frat boys…and the presence of many members of my family.) And when 55 teams of beer- and/or sweet tea- drinking rednecks camp out and cook goats, there is a major need for port-a-potties.
Anyway, I took off work early on Friday so that I could get to the goat cook off and my Dad’s camp/cook site in time for supper because he and my cousin Ty were cooking burgers and hot dogs, and I don’t ever miss a meal when my Dad is grilling if I can’t help it. And because my Aunt Bobbie was bringing her most excellent chocolate cake (Screw the LOW SUGAR VEGETARIAN DIET for a weekend). But, before I got to the park, I stopped at the nearby Gas ‘N Grub for an iced tea and to use their wonderfully clean and indoor-plumbed bathroom.  
I got to the park and greeted my parents and all the aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and third cousins (we had four generations of the family represented) and all the friends that were there. (FYI, the final count of family and friends to stop by was 36!) By the time I’d said hello and hugged everyone (yep, I’m a hugger) it was just about Johnson Standard Time (JST aka “time to eat”). While we were in line for food, one friend mentioned this blog and I told her I’d be blogging about the goat cook off for sure. She asked if I “would change the names to protect the innocent.” I just recommended that she not do anything I could poke fun at and she wouldn’t really have to worry, would she? I figured everyone there must have overheard that advice because then they all seemed to be on their best non-embarrassing behavior after that. And I was totally kicking myself……
Until the toilet talk started. My cousin's boys (aged four and a half and two and a half) seemed to need to go to the bathroom a lot. Like constantly. I was kinda starting to worry about them, like “what on Earth have those boys been eating” when one of my aunts or maybe my Mom explained that the boys liked to use the port-a-potty because they “thought it was neat.” Boys are so weird.
And THAT started the port-a-potty discussion.  I confessed I had stopped at the gas station so I wouldn’t have to use the port-a-potty because I most definitely don’t think they’re neat. In fact, I think they’re just big boxes of germs that make me gag if I think too hard about what’s inside them.  Mom pointed out that they “weren’t bad yet. Actually, when the breeze brought the scent on the air, they were quite fragrant.” Yes, you read that right. We were not only talking about port-o-lets, we were now rating their smell. So I asked Clayton, the-four-year old, “what did the port-a-potty smell like”, since he liked to use it so much and was therefore the expert. “Did it smell like flowers?” He looked at me like I was asking the craziest question ever (which in his defense, I kinda was) and told me it smelled clean. Okay. If a four-year-old didn’t take the opportunity to say that something smelled like poop, then it must have smelled pretty good.
At this point, I realized we were seriously discussing the port-a-pots and I ridiculed all of us into changing the subject. My Mom and aunts moved on to recipes. As a girl who doesn’t cook, I really didn’t have much to add to the conversation and kinda wished I hadn’t been so hasty to find a new topic.
But a little later, Clayton brought us back to the outhouse, figuratively speaking. It was getting late and a few folks were starting to leave. His Great Granny came to say bye. I guess she mentioned something about bathrooms, I didn’t hear her part of the conversation, but I sure heard Clayton’s. He belted out for everyone to hear “Granny, that toilet over there (pointing to the port-o-let), that toilet DOESN’T FLUSH!” Even people at the next camp could be heard chuckling over that one.
The evening ended and then we were all back at the park again early the next morning. Some earlier than others….I made it there by 10am, which is a new record for me. I don’t do mornings. But I digress….
 A little before lunchtime, I took the little boys for a walk around to check out some of the other cook sites. Being little boys, they pointed out the pickup trucks they saw, the fire trucks (“wow, that ladder’s almost TEN FEET TALL”) and EVERY port-a-potty. Clayton even remarked on the volume of toilets available to goat cook off participants. “There sure are a lot of toilets out here for the goat cookers, Shelley .” And he was right.

In case you’re wondering about the actual goat cook off, it was a great weekend. We got to visit with family we don’t always get to see as often as we’d like.  We fed the ducks and tossed washers. We cooked and ate and laughed. We made memories. And we used the stupid port-a-potties.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Extreme Service: Meals on Wheels Edition

Back in college, I was in Alpha Phi Omega (APO), which is a national co-ed service organization. We did all kinds of different projects. Some were hard. Some were rewarding. Some were really fun. Some were soooo disgusting. There are a few that still stand out in my mind all these years later. And since I like to tell stories, you get to read about them..

One semester, Lori (my main partner in crime APO activities and everything else) and I decided to sign up for Meals on Wheels. (Just to be clear, we signed up for DELIVERING meals, not receiving them.) We got put on the Wednesday rotation for the Bryan route that not only had the most deliveries, but was also the most geographically-spread-out...a.k.a, the "let the college kids spend all of their gas money route".

On our first day to deliver, the MOW director went with us to show us the ropes and where we were going. This was before the days of GPS directions, but I'm pretty sure that some of the places we went wouldn't have been on GPS anyway. Or Tom Tom would have said "Are you sure you REALLY want to go there" if we had been able to punch in an address. But I digress.

The MOW dude was, well, full of advice on that first day. He showed us where to pick up the ice chest full of hot meals, explained how to tell if anyone got a special meal, and then we got in the car and made the rounds. The first couple of stops were what you would expect. He'd say, "this is Mrs. So-so. She's got arthritis, she'll talk your ear off if you let her." Or "this is Mrs. Other Lady, she's diabetic, but her son checks in on her regularly, too."

At this point, I have to point out that the first couple of stops were in older neighborhoods; ones that would have been brand-new middle class homes about thirty or forty years earlier. Now they were a little rundown, but not the kinds of neighborhoods you'd be afraid to end up in if you got lost.

The next few stops were literally in "the projects". At this point the MOW dude checked to make sure we had the Meals on Wheels dashboard sign in the car. Why, you ask? He calmly explained, "Because this area of Bryan, particularly the housing projects, has gangs and they don't like outsiders. But they don't mess with the MOW people delivering their grandma's lunch every day." It's really too bad there weren't cell phones with cameras back then, because the look on Lori's face at that moment was great; big eyes, open mouth, "what the hell have we gotten into" expression. Or maybe that was my expression that I caught in the rearview mirror. I imagine we both looked a little freaked out.

It turns out though, that MOW guy was right. We pulled up to an apartment unit that had three or four guys sitting outside drinking 40's (it was roughly 11am on a Wednesday). They really looked at the car with absolute hostility and then saw the sign. Their expressions changed almost immediately. They didn't give us any trouble. Not that day with MOW guy, or any of the times it was just Lori and me. They just greeted us and let us do our thing. One day, one of them even asked what his Granny was having for lunch that day, because it smelled good. (Just FYI, that was one of the RARE days it smelled good. Some days I thought my car would never not smell like cabbage.) But I digress, again.

After the gang banger stop, MOW guy directed us to the next stop in a different housing project, Mr. Hernandez. He smiled, chuckled really, and said, "I don't suppose either of you speak Spanish, do you? Mr. Hernandez doesn't speak any English. You just have to take the food straight back and put it on the table for him because he's in a wheelchair. Oh, and be careful, his apartment is very narrow. He'll station his wheelchair right in the middle of the room so that you have to walk pretty closely to him to get by. He's been known to slap the female volunteers on the ass, so be prepared." Well, either Mr. Hernandez didn't think I was his type, or my evil-eye death-stare did the trick, because he was never anything but a gentleman to me. I'm not sure if Lori can say the same.

"At this point, we've done most of the route as far as number of deliveries, there's only a couple left, but they are farther out of the city limits," MOW dude informed us. "First stop off the highway is a sweet lady who, unlike everyone else, does not want us to drop off her meal inside. She doesn't want strangers in her house (good for her) and will meet us outside." The lady really was sweet like MOW dude said. She knew we were students so she'd ask us what grade we were in. If we answered freshman/sophomore/junior/senior she would get a blank look. She didn't understand, so we learned to say we were in 15th grade or the whatever F/S/J/S equated to. She would say she was proud of us for staying in school that long and send us on our way.

After that nice lady, MOW dude informed us that our route "saved the best for last. We'll turn off the highway here. We'll go down this road a bit. There's a railroad crossing up ahead. Crazy women drivers need to be sure to look for trains." Again, this would have been an excellent time to have a camera, because the "WTF? Did he really just say that? I can't believe he said that" expressions on Lori's and my faces would have been priceless. And at that point, I was so caught off guard by his chauvinism that we could have easily been hit by a train. Jerk.

So, the crazy women drivers managed to get safely across the railroad track, and MOW dude directed us to turn off the road onto a blink-and-you'll miss it unpaved "road" surrounded by trees. His directions at this point included the words "see that burned out hull? That was a crack house before it went up in flames. We'll turn just past it." I can honestly say that "turn left past the burned-down crack house" had never been used in casual conversation for me. EVER. Until that day. After that, it was used every Wednesday because Lori and I would remind each other "turn left past the burned-down crack house" when we got there.

After we managed to make our last delivery, pass the ghost crack house on the way out and get back to the MOW office, I really think MOW dude expected us to quit right then. But Lori and I were made of tougher stuff than that. Or maybe we were just naive. Whatever we were, we were MOW drivers from that point on.

Friday, September 27, 2013

My chocolate milk theory for saving the world

Today's news headlines are depressing. Terrorists shooting up malls. Republican/Democrat deadlock that could shut down the country. War in the Middle East. Turmoil in Africa. Jimmy Kimmel and Kanye West in a rap beef. I'm so tired of it.

At the heart of all these problems are people. People who are mad. People who are hurting. People who are just plain assholes. We need to fix the people before we can solve anything else.

Clearly, I wouldn't be bringing this up if I didn't have a plan. And I do have a plan. One small step to improve everyone's foul dispositions.

I propose that every day each person on the planet should drink a glass of chocolate milk. (I bet you expected me to say wine, didn't you?) It is almost impossible to have a shitty attitude when you're drinking a glass of chocolate milk. (Unless you're lactose intolerant, then more than your attitude will be shitty. In that case, you're welcome to substitute a juice box or Capri Sun.)

Will a glass of chocolate milk save the world? Of course not. Will it make one person's attitude a little better? Possibly. Will that one person's improved attitude possibly improve the attitudes of the people they're in contact with regularly? Probably. Will the dairy industry support my theory? Incredibly likely...if they actually hear about it.  (Drafting an email now....)

So, go enjoy your weekend. Have a glass of chocolate milk and start saving the world.

p.s. Daily Oreos might also work.

p.s.s. Or maybe daily viewing of cute cat gifs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Assembly required

I was just about to brag about how I made homemade pulled-chicken alfredo with angel hair pasta tonight. But I realize that by "made", I mean I opened a package of pasta and boiled it. And I opened a carton of pre-cooked chicken. And then I opened a jar of alfredo sauce and simmered it with the chicken.

So, I suppose I didn't "make" dinner, so much as I assembled it. Now I just need to find a way to "assemble" clean dishes.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My debit card was probably just afraid to go back in my purse.

If I ever go a whole week without temporarily losing my debit card, the skies will probably open up and swallow me. I spent an hour getting groceries at Sams only to realize I didn't have my card. I got home and dumped my purse. I did not find my card, but I did find:

1 change purse
1 credit/debit card holder (that was one card short)
3 hand sanitizers
3 chapsticks
3 lipsticks
2 lip glosses
1 hand lotion
3 hair clips
3 Sonic peppermints
1 USB cigarette lighter charger thingy
11 Coke lids
3 mechanical pencils
10 ball point pens
2 Sharpie pens
1 highlighter
$1.09 in loose change that should have been in the change purse
1 iPad
1 pair of headphones
1 digital camera
1 tape measure
1 cheap pair of backup sunglasses in case I lose the cheap ones that are usually on my head holding my hair back.

1 purple Mardi Gras necklace that I got at Summer Mummers in July during my wonderfully f'ed up weekend.

I didn't "earn" them. James did.

I think I have a problem.

p.s. I found the debit card where I always find the laundry with the jeans I was wearing last time I used it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

These are my online friends. I'm mostly sure they're real people. (updated)

Becoming a blogger introduced me to a whole new community - the blogging community. We are a wonderfully weird and diverse bunch of people who, individually, are funny and/or intelligent and/or crafty and/or sporty and/or geeky, but as a group would make for the worlds' most awkward dinner party. EVER.

Anyway, you should check out their blogs. You might find your new online happy place with them.

According2Robyn -  a professor writing about nerdy stuff like comic books and biology and whatnot. I don't always know what she's talking about, but I feel smarter after I read it.

Robyn Straley - a different Robin. She about using her gold for making the world a better place, or something like that. She says it more eloquently than I just did, though.

Sweet Southern Love  -  my young friend Christy who I used to babysit years ago. She is tackling life with style and lots of love for Texas.

Confessions of the Professional Drama Queen - a student who I'm pretty sure lives in the UK because she uses "colour" and "favour" when she posts. Or she's just a pompous American (you need to see Drew Barrymore in  "Never Been Kissed" if you don't understand that reference).

Sports Junkie and Female - Miss D is probably the only gal I know who likes football as much as (probably more than) I do. 

And of course, the woman who inspired me to start my blog, The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson.

Go read their stuff. And keep reading mine. (Thank you, for reading, by the way.) And if you like what you read, share some link love with a friend. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why can't I just dream about The Rock?

Last night I dreamed that the orthodontist removed my braces and my teeth came out with them. They unrooted (uprooted? derooted?) themselves one-by-one as he pulled the wire away. It was disturbing, to say the least, so today I Googled dream analysis and got a few potential explanations for my dream.  (Because Google is clearly the place to go when I think something serious is going on in my brain.)

The most common analysis is that I'm afraid to look foolish, either in my actions or my appearance. Yeah, that hits the mark pretty close. That's why I got the braces in the first place. I want to have pretty teeth and not occasionally unintentionally whistle when air passes through the gap in my front two teeth. (It happens more than I like to admit.)

Me before the braces.

Another theory went into menopausal women and I just stopped reading. I am not menopausal. No, really. I'm not that old yet. I'm just cranky.

Stop. We're not going there.

The last (hopefully) applicable source said that dreaming of losing teeth is tied to receiving money and the tooth fairy legend. You know, your tooth falls out, you put it under your pillow and the tooth fairy brings you some dough. And if the tooth fairy looked like this, I'd pull my teeth myself to get to meet him:

The Rock as the Tooth Fairy. A myth I could really sink my teeth into.

I like the idea that this weird dream is a premonition of coming into money. But not at the expense of my teeth. I don't want to have to spend any potential windfall on dentures.

What's your weirdest dream? (And just to be clear, this isn't my weirdest dream, it's just my most recent weird dream.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

On dragons and princesses

Once upon a time, a big green dragon decided to kidnap a princess. He flew up to her turret of the castle and went in the window. Just as he was about to grab the princess, she pulled a sword out of the skirts of her gown and chopped off his head.

The princess had the dragon's head mounted over the fireplace in the castle's great hall and turned the rest of the dragon into a really cute pair of sling back shoes, with matching purse and luggage.

The end. 

Lesson #1: Long skirts are good for hiding stuff.
Lesson #2: Don't mess with princesses; they kill for the right accessories.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Adventures in babysitting: giggle-screams and magic water

My friend Christy has been posting childhood pictures of herself and her sister Cymbre on Facebook. And these pictures (like pretty much everything else) REALLY take me back. You see, I know Christy and her sister because way back when they were little girls (around four and six years old), I was their babysitter. I babysat for a handful of families when I was a teenager, but Christy and Cymbre are the source of my very favorite babysitting story. They are the reason that every time my friends and I would trade babysitting horror stories I would ALWAYS win. See, Christy and Cymbre were really sweet and well-behaved little girls, but somehow the planets just seemed to line up against us.

Flashback to 1986 or so: Christy was probably about six and Cymbre was about four. My job as babysitter for that night was to watch a little TV with the girls, make sure they got a bath, put them to bed and then read on the couch until their folks got home. Easy peasy, right? Yeah…not so much.

The evening started out okay-ish. We watched the taped (this was WAAAAAYYYYY before DVR) episode of Pee Wee’s Playhouse they hadn’t seen yet. In case you don’t remember Pee Wee’s Playhouse, during every episode, Pee Wee would give a “word of the day.” When you heard the word of the day, you were supposed to scream. I’m pretty sure the word of the day was “THE” because Christy and Cymbre pretty much giggle-screamed for an entire hour. And then it was bath time.

The girls didn’t argue or cause any problems when I told them it was bath time, which should have told me something catastrophic was about to happen. They jumped in the bathtub, washed and giggle-screamed some more and then got out of the tub. They didn’t actually bother to grab towels and dry off; they just went straight to their bedroom and started digging out pajamas. And this was when things got fishy. Literally. 

See, the girls shared a dresser. A dresser with a fishbowl on top. Christy opened a drawer to get out underwear and a second drawer to get pajamas. Cymbre opened a third drawer to get out underwear and a fourth drawer to get pajamas. Neither girl, however, actually closed a drawer. Can you see where this is going? Four open drawers caused the dresser to lean forward. And the fish bowl slid right off and spilled into the open drawers that were full of previously clean and dry clothes. And the girls went bonkers.

The giggle-screams changed to terror-screams. The girls started running around, totally freaking out. And they were still wet. And still completely naked.  It was pretty much every babysitter’s nightmare.

Finally, the girls calmed down enough for me to figure out EXACTLY why they were freaking out so badly. It wasn’t the fish water that spilled all over their underwear (which would have been MY particular problem); it was the fact that the fish itself was nowhere to be seen. So I had to paw through layers of wet clothes while trying to talk the girls into getting dressed in order to save a $1.99 goldfish. 

Finally the fish was found, and by some miracle it was still alive. I am eternally grateful for that, because I was in no way prepared to have a fish funeral at that point. I put water back in the bowl, tossed in the fish and turned around to smile at the girls and assure them that everything was okay. I expected them to be happy; possibly even look at me with a little hero-worship going on at that point, but no. They weren’t smiling. They were BAWLING. What the hell? Cymbre informed me that the fish was going to die because her mom gave him “magic water.” Magic water?  Once again, what the hell? (Laura or Preston, if you read this, please know I didn’t say “what the hell” in front of your kids, but I was certainly thinking it.) I assured the girls that the fish would be fine until their folks got back and their mom could hocus pocus the water. I don’t think they believed me. I probably wouldn’t have believed me either if the tables were turned.

Finally Christy and Cymbre calmed down and got in bed. That little “emergency” must have worn them out because they crashed hard. I didn’t read (as planned) until their parents got home because I was just too frazzled and a little worried about trying to explain the events of the evening. Preston and Laura were pretty cool about it and just laughed at me. I mean, they laughed with me. No. They laughed at me, because I wasn’t able to laugh about it myself until a few years later.